May 29, 2009

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Cavaliers Stun Strasburg, SDSU

By Abbey Mastracco

Special to

IRVINE, Calif. – The perfect season came to an end Friday night at Anteater Ballpark.

All season, the presumed first-overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg has been nearly unhittable, going a perfect 13-0. But the much-talked about right-hander fell to a much less-talked about right-hander, Virginia’s Robert Morey (left, photo by Ian Rogol of The Sabre), as third-seeded San Diego State fell to the second-seeded Cavaliers 5-1 in the first game of the Irvine Regional.

Morey (3-0) picked up the win, as Strasburg (13-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season. Steven Proscia led the Cavaliers, going 3 for 4 with a two-run homer, two runs and three RBI.

“Our plan worked, and that plan was to battle Strasburg the best that we could,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We knew he was going to be right around the zone so our hitters went up there and were very aggressive. We got in deep counts and fouled the ball off and put balls in play and hopefully got his pitch count up.”

Strasburg lasted seven innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and striking out 15, in his first postseason appearance. Looking just as vulnerable as any other college pitcher in the game, he admitted that even the great Strasburg is susceptible to first-time nerves.

“Coming in, I think everyone had the jitters, it’s our first time in a Regional,” Strasburg said. “I was pretty fired up to be out there but it’s pretty tough to pitch against a team that you’ve never really heard of.”


One out into the game, Phil Gosselin launched a solo shot over the left-field fence.


In the second, Proscia slapped a single into left to lead off the inning. Strasburg struck out Franco Valdez and Keith Werman but threw two wild pitches to Werman, putting Proscia on third. Jarrett Parker then hit a ball to second baseman Mitch Blackburn but beat the throw, allowing Proscia to score.

Morey did his part for Virginia, pitching six shutout innings, scattering just five hits and striking out nine. The sophomore even won over the opposition, being praised by the Hall of Famer in the opposing dugout.

“I thought he pitched great,” Aztecs coach Tony Gwynn said. “He was changing speeds and going up the ladder and mixing in his breaking ball. When he needed to make a pitch he made a pitch.”

After settling himself, Strasburg used his typically-dominant form in dueling it out with Morey, but failed to receive any run support from the free-swinging Aztecs. SDSU hitters swung at just about every pitch. Most of the hits they did manage were untimely, as they left 10 stranded.

“We were right there in it,” Gwynn said. “We had opportunities, but they all came with two outs and we couldn’t get anything across until we finely broke through and got the run.”

The Aztecs avoided the shutout putting up one run in the eighth, but a two-run shot to the left-field power alley by Proscia put the game out of reach in the bottom half. The Cavaliers then tacked on another to push the score to 5-1.

“We have to pitch better than we pitched in the eighth inning,” Gwynn said.

Virginia advances to the winners’ bracket and will play the winner of UC Irvine and defending champion Fresno State. San Diego State will play the loser at 4 p.m. PST Saturday. The winners will play at 8 p.m. PST.


(photo by Ian Rogol of The Sabre)